Entries tagged with: Jon Spencer
photos by Chris Gersbeck
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion just wrapped up a North American tour in the Northeast this past weekend, having hit NYC last Thursday (7/18) for a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Their set was aided by a trippy light show from Liquid Light Lab, and pictures of the bluesy, trippy explosion are in this post.
by Andrew Sacher
Grizzly Bear at Terminal 5 in 2012 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Grizzly Bear are still producing singles off of 2012's great Shields, and they've just made a video for "gun-shy," which was directed by Kris Moyes. Like their video for "Two Weeks," it shows their love of trippy, creepy body manipulation, but instead of warping their faces, this time they're picking their bodies apart with medical tools. Sick. Watch it go down below.
Like Deerhunter and TV on the Radio are doing in May, Grizzly Bear and Yeah Yeah Yeahs (who also like creepy imagery) are each curating and headlining ATPs in the UK. YYYs do it on May 4 and Grizzly Bear on May 5, less than a week before the TVOTR one. YYYs' lineup so far includes The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Black Lips, Anika, The Field, Dirty Beaches, King Khan and the Shrines, and Mick Harvey; and Grizzly Bear's includes Van Dyke Parks, the Walkmen, Tortoise, Real Estate, I Break Horses, and Cass McCombs. Tickets go on sale Thursday (1/31) at 9 AM.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion released a new album, Meat and Bone, this year and we spoke to drummer Russell Simins to see what his favorite albums of the year were. There is some new stuff there, but a good chunk of the list is made up of reissues and uncovered lost recordings, and he's got some really interesting inclusions. Check out his full list below.
As mentioned, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion will play a WFMU benefit (to help WFMU recover from Sandy damages) in NYC on January 13 at The Bell House with Jonathan Toubin, legendary Texas gospel funk group The Relatives (who also play Joe's Pub a day later with Debo Band), Dot Wiggin, and Di Dionyso. Tickets for that show are still available.
Russell's list below...
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Bowery Ballroom in Nov (more by Lionel Bergeron)
As you may know by now, Norton Records suffered much damage during Hurricane Sandy, and they've been getting a good deal of support form the community to help them rebuild. Jonathan Toubin did a benefit show in November and Obits have one coming up in January. A week before the Obits show, you can catch another garage punk crew, Reigning Sound doing a Norton Records benefit at The Bell House on January 11 with The Swingin' Neckbreakers. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Speaking of Jonathan Toubin, two days after the Reigning Sound show, he'll be at The Bell House (1/13) to help another force in music damaged by Hurricane Sandy, WFMU. That show also features Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Relatives, Dot Wiggin, and Di Dionyso. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
For The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, that Bell House show is part of a US tour they'll be on in 2013. All dates on that tour are listed below.
UK music magazine Uncut put out their list of the top 75 albums of 2012. The top ten leans pretty heavy on long-running '60s/'70s survivors who put out new albums this year, but plenty of the list-topping regulars from newer acts are on there too, along with a few interesting surprises (Sun Araw, M Geddes Gengras & the Congos!). You can check out the full list below.
photos by Lionel Bergeron
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion played Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night, November 3rd with Ava Luna and Bloodshot Bill, part of their tour that kicked off in mid-October and continues through middle November. It was a show that almost didn't happen due to damage from Sandy, but the lights came back on just in time and it was the first Bowery Ballroom show in a week to go on as planned. With that in mind, the band sent out this message:
"Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the hurricane. The Blues Explosion has lived in downtown Manhattan for many years, and it means a lot to us to be among the first bands playing after the storm. We are gonna have a great night - Lets get together and and do it! But more importantly, as we've done for our concerts this week, JSBX will donate 25% of tickets and merch sales to the Red Cross and hurricane relief."A kind gesture from the reunited band, no doubt.
If you missed the good riffs and and vibes at Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, live vicariously through the pictures below...
photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin
JSBX inside and out of Bowery Electric, 9/18/2012
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion celebrated the release of Meat And Bone, their first studio album in eight years, at a packed release show in the basement of Bowery Electric in NYC last night. DJ Jonathan Toubin warmed up the crowd, many of whom got a bit wet from the torrential downpour happening outside. At 8:30pm sharp, Judah Bauer, Russell Simins and Jon Spencer (aka the Blues Explosion) kicked off a super hard rocking set of tunes to the appeciative audience that was made up of people who either bought the new album at Other Music, won a ticket from BrooklynVegan, or managed to get themselves on the guestlist some other way.
The band head out on a proper headlining tour in October, starting in Harrisburg, PA, and hitting Bowery Ballroom in NYC on November 2 along the way. All listed dates, their new video for "Black Mold", and more pictures from Bowery Electric, are below.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion are releasing their new album, Meat and Bone, next week (9/18) and as mentioned, they'll be touring in support of it this fall and hitting NYC on November 3 at Bowery Ballroom with Ava Luna. Tickets for that show are still available.
But if you don't want to wait that long to see Jon and his band in NYC -- not to mention a more intimate location -- you're in luck. We're happy to announce that they'll be playing a surprise BrooklynVegan-sponsored record release party in at The Bowery Electric on the date of the album's release (9/18) with DJ Jonathan Toubin and free ice cream. The only way to get in to the show is to buy the album at Other Music starting Friday (9/14) for guaranteed entry or enter the BrooklynVegan contest to win a spot on the guestlist. Details on how to enter the contest are below.
We posted the Meat and Bone track, "Black Mold" a while back and the JSBX have just revealed another cut from the album, "Bag of Bones." Take a listen to that song, plus check out the contest details and a list of updated dates, below.
JSBX at Red Lotus Room 6/8/2012 (photo by Jim Idol)
We knew that The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion would be releasing a new album this year, and now we know that Meat and Bone, their first new album in eight years, will be out on September 18 via Boombox/Mom + Pop. You can stream the album's lead track, "Black Mold," at the bottom of this post or download it from the JSBX website.
The band are revving up for a bonafide North American tour, including a NYC date at Bowery Ballroom on November 3. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (6/29) at noon with an AmEx presale beginning Wednesday (6/27) at noon.
They played a semi-private, one-off gig a couple weeks ago (6/8) at Brooklyn spot Red Lotus Room with ESG and Beans. it was a taping of a pilot for a show tenatively titled The Birthday Party TV Show that's "conceived as Bandstand meets Soul Train in a loft with underground music." The picture at the top of this post was from that taping.
The JSBX track stream, Meat and Bone cover art and tracklist, and a list of all tour dates are below.
The band issued this statement:
Formed in 1985 by Jon Spencer and Julie Cafritz in Washington DC, Pussy Galore drew upon the bloated hardcore scene, totally rejecting the same while embracing 60's garage punk and R'n'B, industrial noise acts like Einsturzende Neubauten, and plenty of bad vibes and badder attitude. After a relocation to New York City in '86, the band quickly rose to prominence and infamy. Sold-out concerts and record releases were celebrated and debated in the pages of the Village Voice, Vanity Fair, and Art Forum. Pussy Galore toured across North America and throughout Europe, even making it to Japan before the band finally imploded.Record Store Day is April 21, 2012.
Now this seminal and influential punk band's catalog is back in print, many of it available as digital download for the first time ever. Each release has been remastered under the supervision of Jon Spencer himself, vinyl masters are cut directly from the original tapes, all-analog. The classic 1987 album, 'Right Now', is available now on vinyl through Shove. This, along with 1988's 'SugarShit Sharp' EP and 1989's 'Dial M For Motherfucker' LP are available for download. Vinyl of SSS and Dial M will follow shortly and, as a special added bonus, a limited edition vinyl re-press of the original Pussy Galore debut 7" record, the' Feel Good About Your Body' EP, will be available for Record Store Day, also through Shove. America, get ready to feel good again!
On December 23rd of last year, Pussy Galore played an unannounced 15 song, 30 minute set at Maxwell's to a packed house, as part of Yo La Tengo's annual Hanukkah festival benefit. This one off 'secret' show would serve notice that one of New York City's great bands still has meaning for today. There are no further shows planned at this time.
photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin
Karen O gets her Santa and JT on @ Brooklyn Bowl
The ongoing "I heart Jonathan Toubin" movement now has a website in addition to a Facebook. Check those sites for info on more upcoming JT benefits like the big one that happened at Brooklyn Bowl late Friday night into Saturday morning with appearances from Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Reverend Vince Anderson (who plays Union Pool most Monday nights), Heavy Trash (with Jon Spencer), Stabbing Eastward (Tunde Adebimpe & Ryan Sawyer), Royal Baths and more. Here are some pictures. More of them below...
Photos by Abbey Braden
Chavez @ ATP NJ
Tonight's cancelled Jon Spencer Blues Explosion show at Maxwell's has been rescheduled for November 29th. Jon says, ""I am terribly sorry but Russell has fallen ill and been told by his doctor not to play tonight's show. The condition is not serious, and should pass, but right now Russell can not rock'n'roll. Gotta cancel the gig. Sorry for any inconvenience. The date has been rescheduled for Tuesday November 29th. Maxwell's will honor any advance tickets purchased for October 13th. If people needs refunds they can get them wherever they bought the ticket. Ticketfly will send a notice out to on-line buyers."
Speaking of 90's Matador bands, Chavez, who recently played ATP in NJ (and Lit Lounge), appeared on Jimmy Fallon last night (10/12). They played two songs (one on air, one for web). Videos of both, along with more pictures from their ATP set (setlist included), below...
Blues Explosion @ SSSeaport in 2009 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
"Everywhere we go, people ask us, When will the Blues Explosion record a new album? And while I respect that spirit, and we are flattered and feel the passion of our fans, the reason to make a new record has to reside inside the Blues Explosion. And a show at the world-famous Maxwell's club in Hoboken New Jersey is a perfect opportunity to perform some new material before taking it into the recording studio." - Jon SpencerNothing serious, but Russell Simins is sick, and so Thursday night's Jon Spencer Blues Explosion show at Maxwell's is unfortunately cancelled. Rescheduled date
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Razika - Eg Vetsje (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Razika - Nytt Pa Nytt (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dominant Legs - Hoop of Love (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dominant Legs - Where We Trip the Light (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Nurses - "Fever Dreams" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Tycho - "Dive" (MP3)
I guess this is the pre-CMJ edition of This Week In Indie which is a slightly less busy week than normal, though not by much. (And CMJ this year isn't the most exciting line-up I've seen for that matter, but we'll get to that next week.) In fact there's some pretty cool musical things you should be considering, so let's get into it.
As mentioned elsewhere on this site, Norway's Razika are playing Friday (10/14) at Cameo, their first-ever U.S. show, and only one for now. You may not think you need a Norwegian all-girl ska band in your life, and maybe you don't, but Razika do it really well. I wasn't expecting to like it. And really, what they do is more ska-tinged pop than actual ska. Which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. There's definitely a Lilliput/Kleenex vibe (or even Electrelane for a more modern comparison) to what they do. And the songs are crazy catchy. You can get half-price tickets ($5) if you use this link.
It's a good show all around at Cameo, with Ski Lodge whose EP I like a lot. As I've said before, it's like early Smiths meets Beach Fossils. The other band on the bill is Lips which is New Zealander Stephanie Brown who now lives in Brooklyn. I like the songs on her Bandcamp page, which are kind of laptop soul, not entirely unlike Little Dragon or, you. There's a really cute video for her song "One Not Two" at the bottom of this post.
San Francisco's Dominant Legs and tourmates Nurses are in town, playing Mercury Lounge on Friday (10/14) and Glasslands on Saturday (10/14). Dominant Legs released their debut LP, Invitation, last month on Lefse Records and it's an appealing take on effervescent '80s pop, completely with lightly funky guitars, glistening keyboards and big choruses. You can download a couple songs from Invitation at the top of this post.
As for Nurses, the Portland trio get called "psych-pop" a lot which I guess is code for "vaguely MGMT-ish" but it's the funkier side of that band and not really so much psych to my ears. There's a lot of echo on it, I guess that's psychedelic. That said, their new album Dracula is pretty catchy and danceable and is more directly comparable to fellow Portlandians Unknown Mortal Orchestra than anyone else. You can download a track at the top of this post.
And lastly, Tycho is at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday (10/16). (Tickets are still available.) The Bay Area electronic artist released his new album, Drive, last week on Ghostly and I've been listening to it a lot. No doubt it owes a giant debt to Boards of Canada, more in the dreamlike synth sounds than in execution. Tracks like "Hours" (downloadable above) more blatantly danceable than BoC but it's still the kind of record you could sleep to as well. And though I no longer have a car, this would be good music behind the wheel, and not just because of the album title.
While listening to Drive, you might think that a live show might just be just a guy and a laptop, Scott Hansen has a full Tycho band that looks to be pretty good from the YouTube clips I've watched. Canada's Teen Daze are also on the bill, and blissed-out Swedes Korallreven are the DJs for the evening.
That's the major stuff for this week...though don't forget Lotion plays their first show in ten years on Monday (10/17) at Knitting Factory! More day-by-day picks are below.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12
Early show tonight at Mercury Lounge: Canadian fourpiece The Arkells whose 2008 debut was one of that year's undiscovered gems, full of hook-filled, strident heartland rock that would've done gangbusters in the '80s. (You may remember me writing about them from M for Montreal.) Their new album, Michigan Left, is out next week in Canada.
I'm ashamed to admit I haven't given The Rosebuds' new album, Loud Planes Fly Low, enough attention but I definitely like what I have heard. You can download "Woods" at the top of this post. One of the nicest bands around, The Rosebuds are always good live and if you've never seen them before, they play Bowery Ballroom tonight. Want to go for free? We have a couple of pairs of tickets you can win if you email email@example.com (subject: Rosebuds) right now. Include your first and last name in the email and we'll get back to the winners with instructions.
Xeno & Oaklander @ Home Sweet Home.
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Brooklyn Bowl in 2010 (more by Ryan Muir)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion spent a good portion of the past year touring in support of reissues stuffed with rare/unreleased tracks, including appearances at Matador 21, Pitchfork, and other dates. The band's other recent accomplishments include a split with Melvins on AmRep and a SuperBowl commercial. In the future you can catch the the NYC trio on October 13th at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. Tickets are on sale. So far no other dates have surfaced.
Jon Spencer @ Brooklyn Bowl in April (more by Ryan Muir)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion are playing a free NYC show in December, but you have to RSVP UPDATE: The show is private. Flyer removed at request of all involved :/
Pete Seeger @ Clearwater Festival 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
City Winery will be hosting a three-night oil spill relief benefit, dubbed Reclaim The Coast, on July 23rd, 25th and 30th. The lineups vary for each...
July 23rd: Pete Seeger, Richard Barone, James Maddock, Elysian Fields, Mike Doughty, Lucy Wainwright Roche, The Roches, Julie Gold, Peter Yarrow (More TBA)Tickets for all three are on sale.
July 25th: Ian Axel, Ed Romanoff, The Madison Square Gardeners, Paula Valstein, The Spring Standards, The Wellspring, Rich Pagano (More TBA)
July 30th: Marshall Crenshaw, Martin Rivas, Christina Courtin, Among the Oak & Ash, Jay Nash (More TBA)
They'll also have a packed house for "Channeling Chilton - A night of Alex Chilton's Music" on July 28th. The confirmed lineup includes Yo La Tengo, Marshall Crenshaw, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Doug Garrison, Rene Coman, Alan Vega, Jon Spencer (of the Blues Explosion), Fran Kowalski, Chris Stamey, Lesa Aldridge (Elizabeth Hoehn), Jay Proctor (of Jay & the Techniques), Bill Cunningham, Gary Talley, Terry Manning, Evan Dando, Jesse Malin, Danny Kroha (of The Gories). In light of the recent passing of founding Big Star bassist Andy Hummel, it should be an emotional night.
Tickets are on sale.
More info on the Gulf Coast relief effort are below...
photos by Kate Gardiner
"And Yawnfork continues." - Jim DeRogatis
Robyn dominated Friday @ the Pitchfork Festival
"Who knew the best performer of the day would be a blonde bombshell spinning Euro-disco? Robyn -- another Swede and a former child star who's fought hard to regain her own artistic control -- came out throwing punches in the air when she wasn't doing that elbows-high, shoulder-leaning dance all '80s female singers used to do. Fiesty, sexy, spunky, Robyn opened with the virtues of being a "Fembot," assured us that love hurts "With Every Heartbeat" and sang flawlessly through new single "Dancing on My Own" in front of a band dressed in all white, twiddling knobs and pounding synth-pad drums. The latter really exploded at the end of "Cobrastyle," with Robyn showing some kick-box dancing. Her Pink-ish pluck reached its zenith in "Don't F---ing Tell Me What to Do," during which she led some kind of aerobics class (sporting a totally Pat Benatar green beret, too). And she was the crowd favorite. Go figure." [Chicago Sun Times]Robyn is now on tour with Kelis (that tour includes three NYC shows).
This post comes five hours into Day Two of the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival (which is streaming online). Tonight's remaining acts are Wolf Parade, Panda Bear, and LCD Soundsystem. More pictures and a few videos from most of what came prior, below....
Matador's 21st birthday fest will be happening in Las Vegas October 1st-3rd. For it, they've pulled the cream of the indie-rock crop. Previously speculated headliners Belle & Sebastian and Pavement will be there - on top of that, Guided By Voices will be reuniting to play, "in the band's "classic '93-'96 lineup!" The most recent show for GBV was New Year's Eve 2004/05.
In addition to those three, the lineup includes Sonic Youth, Spoon, Yo La Tengo, Cat Power, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, New Pornographers, Superchunk, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Guitar Wolf (who also play NY), Chavez, Girls, Fucked Up, Harlem, Cold Cave, Shearwater, Kurt Vile and Jeffrey Joe Jenson. More will be annonuced July 5th.
A flyer is below...
photos by Ryan Muir
"There never would have been a White Stripes or Black Keys without Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Dude is killing it at Brooklyn Bowl!" - Todd Goodwin
NY Press: Over the course of this year, all of the band's albums are going to be re-released, but what about new material?The above-referenced Brooklyn Bowl show took place Friday night with Golden Triangle. This summer you can catch the band again if you're in Chicago for the Pitchfork Festival.
Jon Spencer: Not all of them, but a lot of them. We started with this compilation, which is an overview of the first 10 years of the band. In a couple months, we'll release Now I Got Worry and Contro Negro and a couple months after that will be Year One, all of the records released in the band's first year. All in all, there will be six albums.
NY Press: You're also releasing a best-of compilation. Is that the material we can expect to hear at the Brooklyn Bowl show?
Jon Spencer: We'll definitely be pulling from all six albums, all of the albums really, and maybe some new stuff. I've been meaning to think about what's on the compilation and maybe hit those songs. We never use a set list, we just get up and do it, so what we're going to do is not know until we get there.
Meanwhile, one of Jon's other bands, Heavy Trash just kicked off a tour that will hit The Saint in Asbury Park on April 28th and then Mercury Lounge in NYC the next day. All dates and more pictures from Brooklyn Bowl, below...
Modest Mouse @ Terminal 5 in March 2009 (more by Chris La Putt)
Modest Mouse will join Faith No More and Nas & Damian Marley (tickets) as one of the acts set to play at Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn this summer. Their Friday, July 23rd show will be ticketed/non-free (like the others mentioned). Tickets go on sale Friday at noon (which is when the just-added Faith no More show goes on sale too).
Modest Mouse's Brooklyn show is a week after they play the Pitchfork Festival which recently updated its lineup. New acts playing the Chicago fest include Big Boi, Major Lazer, Neon Indian, Beach House, Free Energy, Local Natives, Robyn & more. Check that out in full below. Single day tickets are still on sale.
UPDATE: Modest Mouse's Brooklyn show is one day after they play one in NJ.
Modest Mouse will be reissuing their third album, The Moon & Antarctica, on vinyl for its 10th anniversary, on Record Store Day - this Saturday, April 17th. "The album features restored original artwork and replicates the infinite lock groove found in the original vinyl pressings of 2000. The new vinyl reissue includes a download card for the album." All dates the the P4K Fest lineup, below...
The Pitchfork Music Festival celebrates its 5th anniversary this year at Union Park in Chicago. It runs from Friday July 16th - Sunday July 18th. Three-day passes are now sold out, but you can still get single-day passes on Ticketweb.
The Updated Lineup is below:
Jon Spencer @ South Street Seaport in 2009 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is playing Brooklyn Bowl on April 16th. Tickets are on sale.
Tickets are on AmEx presale for the Melvins / Isis show at Webster Hall. Yes, in case you missed our update to the earlier post, many of the Melvins dates are with Isis. Also a Music Hall of Williamsburg show is on their schedule.
Regina Spektor, Local Natives & Jamie Lidell tickets are also on sale.
Sean Bones is playing Mercury Lounge on April 7th. Tickets are on sale.
Broken Social Scene, Massive Attack, Public Image Ltd & Specials tickets are on sale too.
by Martin Longley
Er, well, I fucked up slightly. It's my first time at The Bowery Electric and I arrive at eleven, thinking that the gig's happening until midnite. By eleven-twenty, Heavy Trash have fully climaxed, and there's not going to be an encore, despite the crowd doing an extremely good job of baying out over the rockabilly/blues disco. Even so, the Heavy Trash experience is so densely intense that such a brief exposure almost feels equivalent to most other combos playing a full gig. The Electric's an impressively cave-like basement den, and Heavy Trash are completely dominating its intimate space. The gangly Jon Spencer is going for a Mexican Elvis look, testifying down on one knee, or down on the floor, or casting his blank gaze up to the ceiling.
Having witnessed his Blues Explosion several times over the years, this is my first exposure to Heavy Trash. It's a natural evolution back in time to rockabilly, and even rock'n'roll, but fed through the Spencer grater, amped up into a frothing frenzy. He's doing his extended band-introduction speech, but the Spencer mind's going blank and he's being fazed by familiar faces in the crowd-front. All of the band are providing sweet-toned backing vocals, magnifying the cabaret-irony vibrations. Spencer's strumming an electrified acoustic guitar, with Matt Verta-Ray handling the electric-twang soloing. Reverb soaks all, not least Spencer's hiccup-ing vocals. The drums and upright bass pick up their pace and there's a full re-launch into song as the Trash deliver their final frenetic surge. Fortunately, they're playing again at Santos Party House next Tuesday nite...
The Tuesday (10/20) show in question is the Panache/NY Night Train CMJ showcase that is happening on two floors of the venue. Flyer and set times below....
words by Black Bubblegum, photos by Ryan Muir
Steve Albini in Shellac
"We're taking a bath, but I don't care," Barry Hogan told [Sasha Frere-Jones]. We were standing in the makeshift production office for the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, at Kutsher's, a resort in the Catskills."My name is Sufjan Stevens and I am going to play all of my Seven Swans album. That should be a good early afternoon hangover sort of thing"
Kutsher's, where Muhammad Ali trained and a thousand schticks were born, was once the jewel of the Borscht Belt. The main venue at Kutsher's, the Stardust Ballroom, has a capacity of 2,800. But Hogan seemed largely unbothered that only 1,800 tickets to ATP had sold. It is 2009, after all.
Considering the bad coffee situation and the fun that I had the day before, Sufjan was spot on. Clad in tie-dye that the band had purchased at the general store at Kutsher's, the five piece were delicate, light and lilting. Sufjan's bright banjo strums and songs, like the sunny "Sister", resonated so well in the Stardust Ballroom. The Seven Swans album was an excellent choice for a wake-up set on the second day of the three day upstate NY festival (Saturday, September 12, 2009).
After Sufjan, I wandered over to catch a crew of young Aussies named Bridezilla. Though their name is a touch offputting, guitarist/vocalist Holiday Sidewinder has a sexy and breathy coo that recalled PJ Harvey and their her cocktail-dress-ed crew were a surprise and a delight.
Grouper were next, and as a fan of 2008's Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, I was eager to check out Liz Harris's ambient soundscapes. Playing to a projection of an ocean at night, the stage show wasn't much visually but the tides of noise was otherworldly.
Conversely, Black Dice in the same room was a psychedelic mindfuck. Blasts of tribal noise beats nodded heads and shook them in equal measure.
As a fan of Bradford Cox, it was great to see him pull a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning with Atlas Sound. Rolling solo with guitar, harmonica, and some backing tracks, Cox was engaging both in song and with between song banter. I would regrettably end up missing Deerhunter's set a few hours later. Drowned in Sound was there though:
Bradford Cox is a picture of serenity as he swaps his shirt for a more tasteful number and leads Deerhunter into their Saturday night set. He announces that this will be their last performance for some time, causing the band to roll out the hits in quick-fast fashion. They gallop through 'Cryptograms' and 'Nothing Ever Happened', the positively herculean double guitar sound feeling unstoppable and a sense of jubilation ricocheting between the walls as people succumb to these great big shining pop songs. The closing 'Calvary Scars' is a slab of beautiful kraut-pop, with Lockett Pundt's metallic Tim Gane-esque strum leading the way, face-painted kids jerking their bodies back and forth, and Cox looking genuinely sad that this will be the last time these songs will be wrung from his fingers and throat for a while.Anti-Pop Consortium was my next venture, the first time I had ever seen the crew though I was a long time fan. On the Stardust Ballroom system, APC's distorted and creative beats sounded amazing but save for Beans energetic movement, I was less than impressed with their live show. Live hip hop is hard to pull off, and those who try should heed the great Rakim who said "to me MC means move the crowd". If you want to give them a chance, they're at Santos Party House on September 29th.
Sleepy Sun were line checking when I got back to the second stage, with vocalist Rachael Williams checking her levels in the monitor
"Check. Check. I. Hi. Me. You. All of you. Us. Getting nervous."
If they had nerves, the band channeled them into positive energy. Sleepy Sun's influences fit right in with their hometown, San Francisco, as the band dabble in a psychedelic California sound with some krautrock-y elements. I was most struck by their fantastic drummer Brian Tice as well as vocalist Williams, who ripped out a solo that had the crowd shouting and applauding. Wayne Coyne watched the band from stage left, clearly impressed.
After an elongated line check, El-P came on and with a four-piece band (Chin Chin) and hypeman (Mighty Quinn) to the sound of "Tasmanian Space Coaster". I have a soft spot for El-Producto's Blade Runner beats and post-apocalyptic rhyme styles, and it was great to see a Hip Hop artist who actually puts an emphasis on his live show. As a matter of fact, El-P put a little too much of himself out there, almost falling off the stage after pogo-ing around during "Smithereens". Careful dude... we need a follow-up to I'll Sleep When You're Dead.
I hadn't seen Akron/Family since the then more acoustic-centric band played Tonic many years ago (with Hamid Drake?) and it was refreshing to see their energy were still in place. Against a backdrop of a tie-dyed American flag, the band played a rousing and ripping set. It's good to see that the loss of Ryan Vanderhoof to a Buddhist center hasn't slowed them a bit.
Autolux had the discordant riffs, feedback squalls, and a 90s alt punk sound to hit all of the right influences (Joy Division, Sonic Youth, etc), but unfortunately didn't really distinguish themselves from their influences. Autolux isn't offensive by any means, just not compelling or distinctive, and I find it a touch disappointing that guitarist Greg Edwards was a member of Failure (a band that I dug).
Dead Meadow and their fuzzy freakout psych blues were riffing on Stage Two towards the end of the Autolux set, but by half way in, the crowd had diminished considerably due to Shallac on the main. For shame, as the trio played a ripping set!